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Carmel ready to jump into action

The Carmel Middle School community is serious about giving back and paying it forward.

A group of Carmel teachers launched a new character education initiative earlier this year based on leadership and finding ways to make a difference in the world by using their passion and strengths.

Students at the school have spent most of the academic year researching and learning about both local and international nonprofits and the different types of services and programs they offer. From recreational nonprofits, faith-based organizations and nonprofits that benefit specific types of people, the students have studied it all.

But now, teachers at the school are
working to raise money for next year to take the initiative from the classroom to the streets, putting their passions into action.

That’s why, with the help of the school’s parent-teacher group and in conjunction with the school’s annual Spring Arts Night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, the school is hosting Carmel Gives Back, a night to help raise money and awareness for the nonprofit initiative.

“’Live to Give’ is our tagline for the night,” said Danielle Lefebvre, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at the school and one of the lead organizers for the initiative. “The whole idea is 50 percent of proceeds will fund our service learning next year… like if we wanted to go out with Habitat for Humanity, we will be able to pay for the bus.”

The event will include a bake sale, student-made displays featuring various nonprofits, a bake sale, T-shirt sales and a donation-driven fashion show that will feature more than 25 nonprofits including the YMCA, local athletic and recreation associations, Forest Hill Church, the Jewish Community Center, Invisible Children, Goodwill, Beds for Kids, Special Olympics, Wounded Warrior and many more. Additionally, the evening will feature the arts at Carmel Middle, a DJ, dancing and food provided by the PTSA.

Fifty percent of the evening’s proceeds will help fund service learning at the school next year, while the other 50 percent will be donated to several nonprofits. Additionally, NASCAR donated $500 to the initiative so the school could sell T-shirts for the cause.

The school formed a Service Learning Club this semester, Lefebvre said, and so far have about 20 active students who have helped brainstorm and come up with ideas for Carmel to better serve the community. Leaders hope to grow the club next year and spread the compassion. Teachers also will work this summer to differentiate the program for each grade level, which would provide a higher quality educational experience for the students and would build each year of middle school.

“There are so many programs once you get to high school, but hopefully this could be one of these things with middle school kids where we can help them find their niche,” Lefebvre said. “It’s just having the students discover how they can use their strengths and gifts to really give back to the community.”

Lefebvre said the school would eventually love to host a “Give Back Day,” similar to many initiatives by area churches, private schools and local businesses. In the meantime, the students are excited about the fashion show at Carmel Gives Back and have high hopes for what the future could hold.

“They’re very excited,” Lefebvre said about her students. “They are all ready to just obviously be in the spotlight, but they’ve been working hard on it and they want to see the program really take off.”

The school is located at 5001 Camilla Drive.


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